Changes in Russia’s religion law felt by missionaries.

By September 27, 2006

Russia (MNN)–There has been little word on the draft amendments to Russia’s religion law. However, for those involved in ministry in-country, there is concern.

Among the provisions include federal licensing of preachers, registration of missionary activity and restricting places where people can preach.

Greater Europe Mission’s Liz Loeffler gives her take on the potential effect. “It’s going, I think, [toward] shutting down the ministries, or to having much more control over what it’s going to look like. I think it’s anybody’s guess.”

There’s a subtle shift in the mindset supporting these changes that creates the challenge for their team. “I’ve just seen much more emphasis put on some of the laws that were on the books that hadn’t been enforced before with regard to registration of visas for mission workers,” she explains.

Very little information is available about what is happening now with the legislation, who has it or how close it is to final approval.

Loeffler doesn’t want to react prematurely, and urges prayer as they wait and see. Referring to an earlier MNN article she notes, “There has been suggestion that maybe we’ll have to go to more of a tent-making ministry in Russia where we’d be working for a secular organization and then just doing ministry on the side. I know that’s been in the minds of many people.”

And GEM, like many other agencies with work in Russia, is working hard at training the nationals to run their own ministries.

Loeffler says they’re trying to work themselves out of a job. She’s been involved with the cooperative Women’s Ministries Training initiative, and she helps in the training and evaluation of the various centers across Russia.

Prayer support is always appreciated, especially now that the shape of ministry could be forced to change. Click here for more information on Greater Europe Mission’s work in Russia.

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